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Torfaen – of “Big Brother” fame
It is perhaps fair to say that Torfaen does not contain as many notable areas of historical interest as other parts of Wales, but still has sufficient places of interest to warrant a visit.
One of Torfaen’s more recent claims to fame is Rachel Rice, who won “Big Brother” in 2008. Strangely enough, Helen Adams from Cwmbran came second in the same contest 7 years earlier.
Reasons to visit Torfaen
One of the more popular places to visit is Pontypool Park, which covers a large area to the east of the town centre. The Park contains many mature trees and some meadowland, which were once the grounds of Pontypool House. The Park was created at the end of the 17th century for John Hanbury, a well known ironmaster. The local authorities purchased the grounds in 1920 and the estate house was sold and became St Alban’s RC High School.
The main leisure centre is located within the park and offers squash courts, badminton courts, a swimming pool, gymnasium and health spa. A dry ski slope was built in the park in 1975. Outside courts are available for tennis, bowling and netball.
There is an annual “Jazz in the Park” festival, which is held at the bandstand and nearby Pontypool Museum. The Park also puts on one of the largest firework displays in the area on the 5th of November, which is synchronised to music.
If you like “Follies”, check out the Folly Tower at the east end of the park, which is close to the Shell Grotto, decorated with shells and bones in its interior.
Entertainment and Dining in Torfaen
The Congress theatre in Cwmbran offers theatrical productions, dance and musical performances. Blaenavon Workmens Hall was originally a library, but now it is an entertainment centre which includes a cinema, bar and snooker room.
There are many restaurants and Cafe’s, in many different styles.
Accommodation in Torfaen
There are hotels like Premier Inn, Guest houses (on farms and in listed buildings), Bed and Breakfast establishments, and plenty of Self Catering options.